Byline: Nicholas Kralev, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia - Authorities counted at least seven Americans among the 20 dead yesterday in closely coordinated truck-bomb attacks that ripped out trees and tore the faces off apartment buildings in three housing compounds.
Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, who visited the worst-hit compound on arriving in the Saudi capital just hours after the attacks, said the bombing bore "all the fingerprints" of Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda terror network.
The well-planned and well-executed operation "will not deter the United States," he said after surveying scenes of smashed concrete littered with the debris of human lives.
"We will commit ourselves again to redouble our efforts ... to make sure that the scourge [of terrorism] is lifted from the Earth."
Death counts fluctuated wildly, but U.S. authorities said the final toll would probably be close to the Saudi tally of nine suicide bombers and 20 victims killed at the three sites, all exclusive walled compounds favored by Westerners in the northern suburbs of Riyadh.